Care, connection, confidence valued by employees

Top workplaces recognized for support, trust, communication with workers

More than 2,300 companies were nominated or asked to participate in the 2018 Top Workplaces contest by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and its partner, Energage (formerly Workplace Dynamics).

Employees across the metro area responded to print and online solicitations that began appearing in September. Using survey results, a list of 150 workplaces was compiled, consisting of 25 large companies (listed below; 500 or more employees), 50 midsize companies (150-499 employees) and 75 small companies (149 or fewer employees).

This year’s top workplaces are powerhouses because of their perks and passionate culture.

The winners have much in common: Employees feel they are working together in alignment with their company’s values and direction and that they are appreciated and doing meaningful work.

The annual survey gives employees the chance to rate their workplaces.

Statements like “I believe this company is going in the right direction,” “This company enables me to work at my full potential” and “I have confidence in the leader of this company” rank highly in the surveys submitted by metro Atlanta employees for the AJC’s 2018 Top Workplaces project.

The 256 companies that participated in the 2018 Top Workplaces survey represent 101,986 metro Atlanta employees. Of those, 55,941 employees responded.

Statements such as “This company operates by strong values and ethics” (81.6 percent), “My manager makes it easier to do my job well” (80.2 percent) and “My manager cares about my concerns” (80 percent) are indicators of positivity among employees.

“There is no micromanagement and the leadership is there to serve to see we give our best,” an employee at Atlanta-based Big Nerd Ranch, a private software development consulting and training firm on the top small workplaces list, wrote in the survey.

Leadership sets the tone for a strong workplace culture and distinguishes successful companies from unsuccessful ones.

“Collegiality, teamwork, diversity, collaboration, mutual respect — those are the aspects of our culture that are so critically important to us because we’re delivering for our clients. And that’s how we want to work together in order to ensure that we’re providing the very best for our clients,” said Janine Brown, partner-in-charge of law firm Alston & Bird’s Atlanta office, the 2018 top-ranked large workplace winner.

A culture of trust, communication, flexibility and continuous improvement are common characteristics of the 2018 top workplaces.

“We’re always interested in getting better,” says Pat Flood, regional operating partner for Supreme Lending’s Southeast region, a mortgage lender and the top-ranked small workplace for the second consecutive year.

Other companies and organizations, such as Woodward Academy, Salesforce, Dorsey Alston, Realtors, Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services and Insight Sourcing Group, continue to be in the top five.

“We are encouraged to innovate in our approaches to solving problems for clients as well to offer suggestions to better run the business,” an employee of Insight Sourcing Group wrote in the 2018 survey.

Perks, like free food and fitness classes, continue to pop up among top workplaces, but leaders and employees both emphasize there’s more to a great company than those buzzy benefits.

“You could have pingpong tables and just goof off, but we actually enjoy working,” said Rob Forman, chief operating officer of SalesLoft, a private sales engagement software and the 2018 top mid-sized workplace. “We want to create an environment where others enjoy working and where we get things done, and it feeds a sense of accomplishment and pride and the ability to self-direct and to make an impact in the world.”

Statements about pay and benefits rate least important (53 percent and 35 percent, respectively) for workplace satisfaction, according to the 2018 results. Employees rave about personal attention from bosses, whether it’s bringing them breakfast, knowing their names out of hundreds of workers or telling them “thank you” in person or via email.

“They communicate openly, are quick to respond, and solicit feedback on how things are going,” an employee at Alston & Bird, the 2018 top large workplace, wrote in the survey.

Respondents to the statement, “I have not considered searching for a better job in the past month,” decreased from 60 percent to 58.2 percent for the 2018 Top Workplaces program. To keep top talent and avoid costly turnover, top workplace winners provide professional and leadership development, recognition throughout the year for their contributions and successes, and support for all facets of employees’ lives.

“I love my job because of my coworkers, my managers and my customers,” says an employee at Arrow Exterminators, which is No. 4 on the 2018 large workplaces list. “My whole outlook on life has changed for the better; I feel like I am actually succeeding at a career. I’ve waited a long time for a job like this.”